Comdex '99: Sneak Peek at the Hottest Trends 2

Exciting OSs, Digital Cameras, and Flat-Panel Advances

Another emerging category last year was the rise of non-Windows operating systems. Linux and Be were attracting raves because they were different -- this year they'll become really useful. Expect to see amazing video editing systems for the Be Operating System, and real, workaday applications and servers for Linux.

Microsoft won't take this incursion lightly. This ought to be the coming out party for Microsoft's new Windows 2000, the next generation of Windows NT. We'll see Windows 2000 demos, partners, and prospects trumpeted all over the floor. Microsoft is also setting up a Windows 2000 demonstration booth in the back of the South Hall, where anyone can get time with the new OS. Behind closed doors, expect Microsoft to talk about the follow-on to Windows 98, Millennium.

The digital still camera should also truly emerge at Comdex. Although high-priced cameras have been available for years, the lower end ones are just now being shown. We'll see new advances on the high-end ones, while interesting, new, lower-end consumer models will be on display. We'll also see new ways to print, edit and store all those digital images.

For years monitors have been one of the more boring categories of computer products, but this year, they should become more interesting due to the flat-panel LCD monitor. Comdex Fall 99 will feature hybrid digital/analogue flat panels, wall-sized panels, hanging panels, and all-in-one computers that look like LCD panels. Other designs should move the flat panel from the office to the loft and den. Prices are still high, but production is ramping up, so those prices should start falling next year.

There's bound to be some wacky stuff at Comdex too. Some no-name vendor will introduce an astonishing new product that everyone'll talk about. Another vendor will have an amazingly tacky booth or press conference. One of the keynoters will suffer through the embarrassment of full-system crash. Bizarre products galore will be found in the back corners of the Sands. But one thing is for sure -- whether you go to Comdex or stay home, we'll have all the details, good and bad, right here on ZDTV and on See you in Vegas!